Kanafeh Naabulsiya (Middle Eastern Sweet Cheese Pastry)

This is the "other" Kanafeh (Kunafa) which is actually easier to make. I tried reading up the history of this dish and it is either a Turkish variant of the original Palestinian dessert or it just descended from the sky in delicious angelic hands. Not to be confused with the not-so-delicious angelic hands that touched you when you were a kid as you wondered why your uncle called his penis "angelic hands". Good times. This recipe uses an ingredient called kataifi which is just soft vermicelli dough and can be obtained from any Middle Eastern store. The cheese of this dish is called Akkawi and is like a softer version of unsalted mozzarella. This recipe make two 8" pies which can serve up to 8-10 people, but my friend and I ate it in one sitting while reading MRIs. Me while looking at a mirror: "Why are you like this?"


Kanafeh Na’ama (Middle Eastern Sweet Cheese Pastry)

Kanafeh is one of the oldest desserts in the world, according to Wikipedia it was mentioned as early as the first millennia anno domini in the Levent countries. But this is when it really strikes you how old the Middle Eastern culture is, and not just a thousand years, but sixty thousand! Our primitive ancestors came out of Africa and settled here for the first time. The existential crisis begins to set in, why am I even here? What is the point of being alive if I am so insignificant? Is there a God? Just relax and ignore these thoughts for another day. This ancient part of the world has given us farming, language, civilization, religion, and most importantly: recipes! Kanafeh has a couple varieties, this is na'ama which is made with baked semolina flour. The other variety is made using shredded dough called kadayif and I will make it soon. Its hard to explain what this recipe is to someone who has never had it, it is like an upside down cheese cake but the cheese is like really gooey, and you have this dish really hot.

Sauerkraut (Fermented Cabbage)

Ever bought a cabbage, used about a quarter of it since you only cook for one person at a time, and then wonder what to do with the rest? Or have you ever had a craving to eat sour cabbage after a week? Then you're in luck, sauerkraut is the perfect remedy for these two specific occasions. This is the easiest fermentation possible, the bacteria are already present on the skin of the cabbage and all you have to do is leave it in heavily salted water to wash the taste of poverty from your mouth. You will need jars to make this.


I know what your're thinking; "I could go for some Polish heroin right now". But unfortunately that is not the Kompot I am teaching you how to cook. This sweet or bitter drink is of Eastern European origin and is especially popular in Slavic countries due to its functionality. You can drink it hot in the winter or cold in the summer, or the other way around if your are a serial killer. This is a useful drink for us broke people because it utilizes all those fruits you take, but can't finish, from your neighbor's backyard. Kompot can be made with almost any fresh fruits like apples, apricots, berries, grapes, etc, but should be made from what is growing in your garden or what you can steal from your neighbor's garden for that home-grown taste. I am making this with blueberries, cherries, and strawberries because there was a sale at Tops. I had apples but I've found that they dissolve completely into the Kompot leaving a very murky look.

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Bruschetta

Bruschetta is just a fancy Italian word for hard bread slices. Drop it "accidentally" in a casual conversation and suddenly the guy across the table will look up at you and say "Ah, I see you are a man of culture as well". It can be served with almost anything, and in this recipe it is going to be served with a baked spinach and artichoke dip. I first has this at a restaurant near Pompeii almost a decade ago and I had to have it again, but I can't afford a trip to Italy anymore. After trying several recipes from the internet, I finally found one I liked and here we are. Artichokes have a very strong taste especially if they have soaked in brine, but combining it with spinach and a nutty Parmesan mellows it down so everyone will enjoy it. I highly advise you to use a good Parmesan for a better taste, but I know that the Great Value brand at Walmart is all you can afford.